By Claudia Mills
(Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR), Hardcover, 9780374317980, 144pp.)
Publication Date: March 21, 2006
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Todd and Amy Davidson may be twins, but they’re complete opposites – Todd is organized and is the family “engineer,” while Amy is outgoing and has been dubbed the “poet.” So it would seem that for a fifth-grade economics project, Todd would come up with a master invention, and Amy would have a blast with her best friends as partners. To their surprise, Todd can’t think of a single idea, and Amy gets stuck working with the class crybaby. Then Todd begins writing poetry . . . But this is nothing compared to the switch their parents have made. Their father has been unemployed for months and their mother has started to work at a crafts store. Now there’s never enough food in the house, everybody is always on edge, and when Amy’s friends come over after school, they find Mr. Davidson, uncombed and unshaven, in his ratty old bathrobe. Will life ever return to normal?
With chapters that alternate between Todd’s and Amy’s points of view, this novel is a realistic and sometimes funny portrayal of a family adapting to changing roles.
Trading Places is a 2007 Bank Street - Best Children's Book of the Year.
CLAUDIA MILLS is the author of picture books, the Gus
and Grandpa beginning readers, chapter books, and novels,
including Makeovers by Marcia. She lives in Boulder, Colorado.
"Beautifully drawn characters . . . who must accept failure and come to terms with change." --Booklist "A crisp drama that aptly shows how things rarely turn out perfectly in life, but they often work out well enough. Mills level-headedly speaks for and to 'tweens about the ways we adjust to fit into an ever-changing world." --Kirkus Reviews "Readers will appreciate the easygoing read and may want to consider the possibilities of stepping beyond the boundaries of their own usual roles." --Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books "The realistic situations and characters will appeal to middle graders." --School Library Journal